Why Solar Energy Has Great Significance In India?

Why solar energy has great significance in India?

India is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. However, ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy for its massive population remains a major challenge. Currently, India relies heavily on imported fossil fuels like coal and oil to meet its energy demands. But this has exposed the country to price fluctuations in the global market and caused mounting environmental problems from air pollution. There is a pressing need for India to tap into its abundant renewable energy sources, especially solar power, to support its economic growth in a sustainable manner.

Abundant Solar Resource

India is blessed with abundant solar energy potential due to its location near the equator. India on average receives solar radiation of about 4-7 kWh/m2 per day, with sunshine duration of 250-300 days per year. Solar insolation levels range from 1600 kWh/m2 per year in some parts of the northeast to 2200 kWh/m2 per year in the northwest region.

According to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), annual average global horizontal irradiance (GHI) – which measures the total amount of shortwave radiation received from above by a surface horizontal to the ground – varies from 4-7 kWh/m2 across India. This indicates solar energy has immense potential to be harnessed across the country.

Supports Economic Growth

Solar energy can support India’s rapid economic growth and development. According to Economic Impact Of Solar Power In India – Complete Guide, solar power has fallen in cost dramatically in the past decade from Rs 12 per unit in 2010 to just Rs 2.44 per unit in 2022. This makes solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels, providing affordable and reliable electricity to power homes, businesses, and industries across India.

Increased solar energy capacity also creates jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance. According to India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the solar sector employed over 547,000 people in India in 2021, with 300,000 new solar jobs expected by 2022. Solar energy investments spur economic growth in both urban and rural communities.

With abundant solar resources and rapidly declining costs, solar energy can provide clean, affordable electricity to meet India’s growing energy needs. Widespread solar adoption supports sustained economic development, job creation, and improved quality of life across the country.

Meets Rising Energy Demand

India’s electricity demand is projected to grow rapidly in the coming decades. According to one estimate, India’s peak electricity demand could more than double between 2017 and 2030, growing at an annual rate of 6-7% (1). With a growing population and rising incomes, India will need to expand its power generation capacity substantially to meet this increasing electricity demand.

Solar energy can play a major role in meeting India’s rising electricity needs in a clean and sustainable manner. The country has an abundant solar resource, receiving about 5,000 trillion kWh of solar radiation per year (2). Solar photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants can help provide the additional electricity generation capacity required to satisfy India’s growth in demand.

The Indian government has set ambitious solar energy deployment targets to account for 40% of installed power capacity by 2030 (3). Scaling up solar power will be crucial for India to meet its rising electricity demand without relying heavily on fossil fuels like coal that contribute to air pollution and climate change.


(1) https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/13/2574

(2) https://arxiv.org/pdf/2308.07320

(3) https://doaj.org/article/1d4d926c162e44099d4d5d58c8bc8bd9

Reduces Dependence on Imported Fossil Fuels

India imports over 80% of its oil needs and 25% of its coal, leaving it vulnerable to price shocks and supply disruptions.[1] The development of domestic solar resources allows India to rely less on imported fossil fuels to meet its growing energy demands. Studies project India’s energy import dependence could rise to as high as 55% by 2040 without alternative energy sources like solar.[2]

With abundant solar potential across the country, India can harness this renewable resource to fuel economic development and connect millions to electricity without needing to expend scarce foreign reserves on fossil fuel imports. Growing the domestic solar industry enhances India’s energy security and insulates the economy from external shocks.

Improves Energy Access

Solar microgrids can provide electricity to rural areas that lack access to the main power grid. Over 200 million people in India lack access to electricity, predominantly in rural communities.[1] Installing solar microgrids in villages enables remote areas to generate their own renewable electricity locally. This provides affordable lighting, heating, cooking, and power for community needs like health clinics and schools. For example, the Solar Electric Light Company (SELCO) has installed over 2,000 solar lighting systems in unelectrified villages across India.

With abundant solar resources, microgrids can sustainably meet the basic electricity needs of rural populations. Solar microgrids also allow villages to leapfrog traditional grid infrastructure and adopt decentralized renewable energy solutions. Decentralized solar avoids high transmission losses that occur over long distances on centralized grids. Overall, solar microgrids are critical for improving energy access and reducing energy poverty in rural India.

Creates Jobs

India’s renewable energy sector, especially solar, has seen massive growth in recent years. This has led to significant job creation in the country. According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India added nearly 1 million renewable energy jobs in 2022, with the solar industry being the biggest employer[1]. Solar alone accounted for over 250,000 of these new jobs.

Employment in the solar industry spans manufacturing, construction, installation, and operations and maintenance. As India expands its solar capacity, the industry will require even more skilled workers and technicians to meet demand. Reports estimate that India’s solar sector could create over 1 million additional jobs by 2030 as capacity grows from the current 40 GW to 280 GW[2]. Solar jobs provide steady incomes and opportunities for upskilling, benefitting both urban and rural populations.

The renewable energy revolution in India is transforming lives by creating abundant employment and entrepreneurship opportunities across the country. With supportive policies, the solar industry can drive further job creation and support India’s sustainable growth.

Curbs Pollution

Solar energy can significantly reduce air pollution in India by displacing fossil fuels like coal that are major contributors to poor air quality. According to India Air Pollution Statistics, many of India’s cities rank among the most polluted in the world1. Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels for energy is linked to premature deaths, lung cancer, asthma, and heart disease. Solar doesn’t produce air emissions when generating electricity. Widespread adoption of solar energy and other renewables can help improve air quality and public health, especially in heavily polluted cities like Delhi.

One source of intense seasonal air pollution comes from the burning of crop residues by farmers after harvests. This stubble burning spikes particulate matter and carbon emissions. Solar powered equipment could reduce reliance on burning and provide cleaner alternatives for clearing fields2. Transitioning to solar energy for electricity generation would also eliminate major stationary sources of pollution from coal power plants.

Slows Climate Change

Solar energy can significantly reduce India’s carbon emissions from electricity generation. In 2014, carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production accounted for 53.6% of India’s total CO2 emissions (source). As India continues to grow and develop, electricity demand is rising rapidly. This has traditionally been met through fossil fuel sources like coal which contribute heavily to India’s greenhouse gas emissions. By expanding solar energy capacity, India can meet rising electricity needs while curbing emissions. Studies show the carbon intensity of India’s electricity sector is increasing due to declining efficiencies at coal plants (source). Solar provides a clean alternative that supports economic growth while aligning with India’s climate targets.


In summary, solar energy has great significance in India’s energy future because of the nation’s vast solar resources, its potential to meet rising electricity demand and resolve energy poverty for millions, and the numerous economic and environmental benefits solar power provides. Utilizing a free, renewable resource like sunlight to generate electricity will reduce India’s reliance on imported fossil fuels, accelerate development, curb dangerous pollution and carbon emissions, and create quality jobs. The next decade will be a pivotal time for India to tap into its vast solar energy potential and become a green energy leader. With supportive government policies and private sector investment, solar can secure India’s energy self-sufficiency and lead the country into an innovative, sustainable future.

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